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College of Forestry and Conservation

How To

Establish Projects through the RM-CESU - Guidelines for agency managers or researchers:

A. Verify that your project is appropriate for the RM-CESU agreement. The Executive Committee Member for your agency can give final approval (see agency contacts)

B. Contact your agency's procurement or contracting officer for necessary paperwork, specifying that you will be using the RM-CESU agreement:

National Park Service

 Administrative Steps for Initiating an IMR RM-CESU Task Agreements

  1. Contact RM-CESU NPS Research Coordinator- Pei-Lin Yu (406-243-2660).  At the earliest possible date, the NPS Agreement Technical Representative (ATR) notifies the RM-CESU RC of intent to develop a new task agreement (TA).  For a new TA, the ATR discusses the project with the RC to make sure it is appropriate for the CESU agreement, including how NPS will be substantially involved in the project.
  2. Confirm ATR Certification.  Check the NPS National ATR Certification Database  maintained by WASO to ensure that certification is current.  ATRs must have completed the 24-hour initial ATR training or 8-hour re-certification training within the last 3 years AND be registered in the national database.
  3. Obtain TA Templates.  These can be obtained from the RM-CESU RC or downloaded from below.
  4. Prepare Draft Documents.

    Task Agreement cover sheet:  For new TAs, the ATR uses the current RM-CESU TA template and drafts the TA with help from the cooperating principal investigator (PI). In drafting the TA, please: a) establish a realistic schedule for the project that avoids unnecessary modifications for date extensions later on, and b) include a detailed itemized budget including the standard 17.5% CESU indirect cost rate. The maximum life span of any TA is 5 years past the obligation date for the TA (with an end date of no later than June 1 of the final FY).  The cover sheet  template includes the following items:  specified frequency of Federal Funds Report, SF 425 submittal with other milestones such as progress reports, draft final report, final report.

    Justification for use of Cooperative Agreement: This form includes information on sole source, public purpose and substantial involvement of NPS in the project.  This is a check off sheet, with some narrative needed at the bottom of the form.

    Request SF 424s from cooperator: Once park and cooperator have agreed on a budget, request that the PI get the three SF 424s from the office of research. SF424, SF424A, SF424B

    Use our “blue line” edition of the FBMS PR request form: Make sure that the PR request form includes the name of the IMR Agreements office – code is PIM.  Call Kelly Adams at IMR agreements office if you have questions on this (303-969-2303)

    Draft budget form:  We have a template that can be used to provide budget detail for your project.  This is not required but might be helpful in providing the needed detail on your project budget.  Ask the RC for a copy of this template, if needed.
  5. Obtain RM-CESU RC Review and Approval.  The RC reviews the draft TA and the other documents and might make edits or suggest changes to improve the documents. The RC and ATR communicate back and forth until both parties approve the documents.  Then the RC sends all the documents to IMR Agreements office (cover sheet, Justification, SF 424 forms).
  6. Create Purchase Request:  Upon receiving RM-CESU RC approval, and once the account number is determined, the ATR gets a park “requestor” to complete a Purchase Request (PR) Request Form for the amount of funds in the TA and has the “requestor” send that form to the IMR Sharepoint site.  We no longer need the task agreement documents to be attached to the PR or the PR request form.  Those forms will be sent by the RC to IMR agreements office. The RC at RM-CESU have a “model” PR Request Form that a park can use to make sure that the correct “Codes” for CESU task agreements are included on the form.  The PR request form needs to indicate the “destination” of the PR, which is the IMR  purchasing office code, PIM.  Once the PR is loaded into FBMS by one of the IMR requisitioners, all approvals are accomplished in the system by those with FBMS roles of Supervisory Approver and Certifying Funds Approver. 
  7. Include Standard Entries on Requisition Request Form: There are certain “standard entries” for CESU task agreements to be filled out on the requisition form:  The UPC for Cooperative Agreements (no property involved) is 411C0000. Under the “description” of the service, the Item Category should always be “AU”. Under the section on “Line Item data” – you will need to enter PIMunder the column named “Purchasing Group”. It would be helpful to get your requestors to put RM-CESU, in the beginning of the PR Header information block. 
  8. IMR Agreements Office Processes the Requisition and the TA documents:  The signature page of the TA is signed first by the university, then by the NPS. The Agreement Officer at IMR obligates the funding in FBMS and emails a PDF of the fully executed TA to the ATR (along with an ATR letter that requires signature), the cooperator institution and the RM-CESU RC.
  9. For Questions at IMR agreements office:  Please call Kelly Adams, IMR agreements specialist at 303-969-2303.

Other “helpful hints” for RM-CESU task agreements:

  • Our five year Master RM-CESU Cooperative Agreement will be renewed on May 29, 2014.  At that time we will have a new Master Agreement number to put on all your documents.
  • Be aware that the RM-CESU just added four new partners:  University of Waterloo, Chief Dull Knife College,  Blackfeet Community College, and our first non-profit research partner, Wildlife Conservation Society.
  • Relative to account numbers, be sure to specify on the cover sheet what is the fund source for your project.  If the account number is “reimbursable”, then you need to include a copy of the Interagency Agreement to the RC and the IMR agreements office.  You need to make sure that the end dates of the IA and the task agreement match.
  • Be aware of your project deadline/end date.  The Financial Assistance Officer in IMR will not sign modifications to extend the performance period once the end date of the project is past.
  • To request modifications to existing IMR task agreements, the NPS ATR needs to provide the request to the RC, with information on the project number, the needed change, and the rationale for the change.  Mods may include:  (1) change in end date, (2) change in the principal investigator, (3) change in the NPS-ATR, or (4) significant changes in the project budget.
  • ATRs can monitor the status of the funds drawdown by getting the FA FBMS Draw Down Activity Report on the intranet site: .  Or you can contact Kelly Adams or Katie Flansburg in the IMR office for information on how much of the funds have been drawn down.  ATRs no longer have “approval” authority for partner expenditures.
  • Closeout is done by the IMR agreements office and ATRs at the end of a project.  The Partner has 90 days past the end date of the project to draw down the remainder of the funds, and send a final SF425 form to  This is only true if the 90 day period does not extend past mid-August at the end of the five year period of the funding .  The IMR Agreements office will send a notice of the closeout to the ATR, and request the status of the final products.  A final report or completion report needs to be sent to the RC at the conclusion of each project.

Administrative Steps for Initiating WASO RM-CESU Task Agreements

  1. WASO: please use the WASO task agreement cover sheet; Justification for Use of Financial Assistance and Budget Worksheet.
  2. You will need to fill out a Purchase Request form to obligate the funds in FBMS. For WASO task agreements, please contact Debi Reep, (, NRSS, to get instructions on how to submit your documents and get RM-CESU approval prior to these forms going to WASO Federal Financial Assistance Office, contact Andrew Lubner,

RM-CESU NPS Completions Report Template

Bureau of Land Management Contact

Lori Anderson, Grants Management Officer, BLM-Montana State Office, 406-896-5196 or

Ruth Ann Raisanen, Contract Specialist, BLM-Colorado State Office, 303-239- 3605 or

Chris Shaver, Lead Grants Management Officer, BLM-Idaho State Office, 208-373-3915 or

Robert Tichac, Contract Specialist, BLM-Wyoming State Office,

US Geological Survey Contact

Faith D. Graves, 703-648-7356 or

  1. The institutional partner (university) submits a proposal along with an SF-424 and an SF-424A to the USGS cost center for funding. Typically proposals are developed through close consultation between a USGS scientist and a member of the university faculty. The USGS principal investigator submits a requisition request to the cost center.
  2. If approved, the cost center forwards the proposal with an official DI-1 to HQ Office of Acquisition and Grants. The proposal is then funded through a Research Cooperative Project Award from USGS to the university under authority of a Master CESU Agreement. Research Cooperative Project Awards should be processed through the administrative officer of the originating USGS cost center in accordance with delegated procurement authority.

USFS- Rocky Mountain Research Station Contact:

Cindy Gordon, 970-498-1172 or

Bureau of Reclamation Contact:

Lindsey Naft, 406-247-7684 or

Natural Resources Conservation Service Contact:

CESU Procedures -- Noller Herbert, Acting NRCS National CESU Coordinator at 202-720-2520 or

Cooperative Agreement procedures -- Christopher Watkins, Grants and Agreement Specialist at 817-509-3509 or

US Army Core of Engineers-Civil Works Contact:

Deannda Sontag, Contract Specialist, ERDC Contracting Office

Department of Defense Contact:

Jack Mobley, 817-886-1708,

DoD CESU Fact Sheet

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Mountain-Prairie Region: Tammy Mayne or Patrick McKenney;

Alaska Region: Rich Primmer, 907-786-3611;

C. For additional questions, contact your agency representative or the RM-CESU Coordinator

Establish Projects through the RM-CESU - Guidelines for faculty:

A. Verify that your project is appropriate for the RM-CESU agreement. The Executive Committee Member at your institution can give final approval (see University contacts)

B. Complete necessary agency paperwork (see agency contacts above)

C. Contact your institution's grants/research personnel for necessary internal paperwork, specifying that you will be using the RM-CESU agreement.

D. For additional questions, contact your university representative or the RM-CESU Coordinator.

Identify Appropriate Faculty to Collaborate on a CESU Project:

If you do not know who you would like to work with as experts for your research, education, or technical assistance project, there are several routes for identifying appropriate partners:

A. Contact the RM-CESU Executive Coordinator at the University of Montana: Lisa Gerloff, 406-243-5346;

B. Search the Expertise Directory.

C. Contact the RM-CESU representative at the institution you are interested in working with.

D. If you are working on an NPS project, contact the Intermountain Region Research Coordinators: Kathy Tonnessen, NPS Research Coordinator,, 406-243-4449 or Pei-Lin Yu, NPS Cultural Resouce Specialist,, 406-243-2660

Partnership in the RM-CESU

Becoming a partner in the Rocky Mountains CESU requires several steps in a process that may take several months to over a year to complete: 

  1. Establish initial contact with the RM-CESU Executive Coordinator at the University of Montana: Lisa Gerloff, 406-243-5346; to begin dialog regarding enrollment as a new partner
  2. Submit a formal letter of interest and application to the Chair of RM-CESU Executive Committee, Jim Burchfield, via the Executive Coordinator.
  3. If a majority of the Executive Committee agrees that the nomination appears to have merit, an invitation will be extended to the the proposed new member to attend the fall Executive Committee meeting.  This meeting is required.  It provides an opportunity for the proposed new member to make a presentation to the committee addressing the components of the application and to answer questions about its interest in the CESU and what it can bring to the CESU to strengthen it.
  4. The Executive Committee then considers the proposal and determines whether or not to accept the potential partner as a partner. Acceptance is by super majority (2/3rds or greater).
  5. An amendment to the RM-CESU MOU is prepared and the Executive Committee members (one per partner) sign the amendment acknowledging their acceptance of the new partner.
  6. The signed amendment is forwarded to the National CESU Council for ratification.
  7. Upon ratification by the RM-CESU Council the new partner takes a seat on the Executive Committee and all partners receive a copy of the amendment.

For details on the application package, go to: Addition of new partners to the RM-CESU

RM-CESU Partner Roles and Responsibilities

For more information or assistance, contact the RM-CESU Coordinator.